Samantha Butler never had plans to become Product Owner and Quality Assurance Lead at Modest Tree; she wasn’t even aware such a thing existed in the world of software programming. After starting a Sociology degree at Dalhousie University, Samantha transferred over to NSCC and obtained a certificate in Office Administration. From there, she took the knowledge she gained from both programs and applied them towards a degree in Computer Science back at Dalhousie. “I joined computer science thinking I would become a programmer, but there is much more to software engineering than just the coding aspect. The business and management sides are just as important,” says Samantha.
While registered in the Co-op Program at Dalhousie during her Computer Science degree, Samantha spent three of her work terms at Modest Tree, where she was introduced to quality assurance and the other non-coding aspects of software engineering. Modest Tree is an award-winning modelling, training, and simulation company that uses innovative software to provide customized augmented reality and virtual reality training and marketing solutions.
“Advocating for a product that the end-users will love and seeing the software come to life to those specifications is truly rewarding.”
After graduation, Samantha joined on with Modest Tree full-time where she now works with the development team to achieve product goals, leads the quality assurance team in the effective execution of test cases, and ultimately determines when products are suitable for public consumption. Although different from what she intentionally went to school for, she loves every moment of it; “Advocating for a product that the end-users will love and seeing the software come to life to those specifications is truly rewarding”, says Samantha.
The knowledge Samantha gained through her sociology courses never went to waste and helped her become more aware of how other people think and approach things. This has been particularly helpful for the quality assurance and usability testing aspect of the job. She has been able to apply said learning when visiting tradeshows and speaking to potential users, “I love to see their faces light up as they fill in the blanks about what they could do with our software because they get it! Seeing how applicable the software we are creating is to our users’ lives is amazing.”
“Be willing to learn and develop within your position. Create opportunities for yourself by showing people you are capable of more than your current position.”
As expressed by Samantha, just as there is more to software engineering than coding, all careers offer new avenues to experience and pursue; “Be willing to learn and develop within your position. Create opportunities for yourself by showing people you are capable of more than your current position.” She could have never imagined herself in the position she is in now, but practicing what she preaches has led to exciting opportunities, and no doubt will only expand her prospects.
For now, Samantha plans on continuing to bridge the gap between clients and developers, and between user needs and technical requirements. Open communication has been key to her success while transitioning from student to full-time employee, and she plans to use those skills while developing her managerial skills further to help coach her team to success.
AEROSPACE & DEFENCE: OUR STORY, YOUR FUTURE